Talk:The Forever War

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Disagreement[edit]

I disagree with what is written about The Forever War here. My memory is that Mandalla returns home several times (at least back to a 'civilian' world if not actually to Earth). He re-enlists after the first visit. Each time he finds a different society. My memory is that there are at least two missions when he is with his lady (whose name I also forget). I'm also doubtful about the unit he commands being entirely cloned, because as soon as minkind becomes cloned they begin to communicate with the Taurans. DJ Clayworth 20:48, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

If my memory serves, he returns home three times -- first, to see his brother, and finds out about the shortages, etc; then, he comes back to find everyone has gone gay; the third time he comes home, he finds out about Man and the cloned beings. You are correct - the unit he commands at the end of the book is not cloned - they're gay. →Raul654 01:55, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)
He only returns home once, after engaging in the first ground combat versus the aliens. While home he sees the crime, the rationing, watches his mother die, and talks to his brother. He never meets his brother. After moving in with his girlfriend, and watching her family get killed, he and Marylou (I think) re-enlist. They are deployed, injured, and think they are going home, but don't. They go to the hospital/recreation planet Heaven. Mandella goes to officer training and takes command of his unit.
His unit is all cloned, raised in the creche. They hadn't become Man yet, they hadn't formed the group mind.
After that he returns to the military base he started from, not Earth, and he is told about Man and the Taurans. He only goes to Earth the first time.
Wasn't there also a graphic novel/series based on this book? I see no mention of it, and I can't find it.
There were two version in print that I have read. In one version (which I will call the "Abridged Version"), the visit home omitted the shootout at Marygay's parents farm as well as the incident in London. In this "Abridged Version" William indeed met his brother.
The longer version there was the shootout, the London incident, but William only talked to his brother via phone (brother was on the Moon). There was far more commentary on the state of things in the Washington DC as well as Columbia, MD metro areas.
In both versions he only returned to Earth once. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.15.113.126 (talk) 19:10, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh PS while plot holes are not really the issue here why could the returning humans talk to Man if clone communication was so different? This is also a plot hole in "A Separate War" when Taurans address Marygay's squad directly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.15.113.126 (talk) 19:23, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Editions[edit]

My version has some sort of mechanical device with a space warp in the center...don't know what year it's from, as I don't have it with me. Kuralyov 03:28, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

I believe this is the same as the 2003 edition with the "soldier with a sensor over his eye" on the cover. I believe that one version of the artwork appared on the paperback, the other on the hardcover.
In the U.K. The Forever War was resissued from 1999 by Gollancz (an imprint of the Orion group) as #1 in its "SF Masterworks" series. There were two different versions of cover art that I know of, the one on my brand-new paperback shows MaryGay Potter in a fighting suit, holding a rifle and standing before a massed rank of soldiers and ships. An earlier version I've seen illustrating reviews shows battle in space between ships. They carry a foreword by Haldeman describing them as "the definitive version" of The Forever War. So I assume they are the same, or "more definative" then the 2003 version. 14:54 09 November 2005
The girlfriend is named Marygay, and the men in his unit are not clones of each other, while they may be clones of past people, they all have different traits and features.
According the The Forever War series page, this novel was "originally published as three shorter works: "Hero", "End Game", and "You Can Never Go Back". Shall we look into this? Zepheus 20:23, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
That brings back memories. I definitely read YCNGB as a stand-alone novella in a collection in the 70s. Guinnog 22:16, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Was it available in a short-story collection of the author's or perhaps in a magazine such as Analog? Should I look that up? Zepheus 22:35, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand. The article states: " The Forever War has been published in three editions", and then it goes on to describe those editions. Then it says: "In September 2003, another new edition was released[.]" So which is it? Are there three editions, or four? Is the latter comment referring to a reprinting of the third edition or something? This could use a little clarification. --Tsuji 23:16, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
I've reworked the "editions" section to not only include the fact that it was first published as a serial, but also to just get rid of confusing statements that try to peg an exact quantity on the number of editions that exist. (Technically, every time a different publisher reprints the book, it's a different edition. Therefore, numerous editions exist). The point being made is that different "versions" exist, and I hope that comes across a bit clearer now (the info I've added is from the forward to the 1997 edition).
More importantly, however, my research in determining which edition is truly the "first edition" revealed that this book was not first published in 1975, but rather, in 1974 (St. Martin's Press, hardcover). I've re-categorized the article (1974 Novels) and changed the date wherever I have found it (including The Forever War Series template) and the infobox now reflects information regarding the first edition (as is preffered). This date is confirmed not only by the novel's original copyright but also by cross-checking numerous independent online booksellers. Also, the forward of the 1997 edition states The Forever War "was rejected 18 times before St. Martin's Press decided to take a chance on it," so there should be no argument there. -- Antepenultimate 19:44, 02 January 2007 (UTC)
Good work Ante. You were very thorough. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 21:42, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
There's a citation in-line, some sort of library call number. Could someone move it out of the section and into the appropriate citation or footnotes section? Pstanton 02:33, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Deleted Secton[edit]

I deleted this section, because I felt that it dit not belong in the plot summary. It could fit, with revisions, elsewhere.

  • One of the telling points of the book is towards the end ("Major Mandella" - section 7), when he and a soldier from a much more contemporary time (more recent by hundreds of years) are attempting to determine how long to wait before exposing themselves to the ground zero of a nuclear explosion. Both calculate the requisite physics problems by hand, and arrive at similar answers. The underyling principle, perhaps, is that with enough time even the oldest systems are changed, and beliefs we have held for our entire lives are suddenly seen as invalid - despite the fact that the old systems worked.

Any ideas appreciated. Zepheus 20:03, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

This is not quite correct - they had detonated a nova bomb while they were protected by a stasis field. Mandella and another soldier both worked out how long it would take the crater they were then in to cool by writing in the snow (in the depicted stasis field one cannot see the outside world). They came up with very different results so Madella ordered they would wait the longer time period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.15.113.126 (talk) 19:15, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Confusing section[edit]

I marked the "Editions" section as confusing because I find it hard to keep the editions straight. - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 21:35, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Sentence removed[edit]

I removed this sentence from the Editions section, because it is unsourced. If someone can find a source, by all means, put it back in. As such, some readers prefer the 1975 edition, calling it the stronger of the first two versions. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 07:09, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Navy Response[edit]

It seems to me that the author of that section isn't entirely impartial - the way the section is written it seems to villify the Navy. It doesn't seem to comform to the POV standards of Wikipedia. Not to mention there isn't any citation for the supposed court-martial recomendation for seditious literature. I'm going to go ahead and remove the quotations, until there is citation it cannot be argued that the section is actually quoting anyone, as it is, the quotation marks seem to be used sarcastically which doesn't seem very neutral. Incidentally, I've also added a non-specific tag and an attribuation tag. Claiming that a book was secretly popular over a large time frame among Navy enlistees is impossible to verify and could easily be an opinion. Also, if there is at least one known case of a recomended court-martial, we really should be told WHO it was. Pstanton 02:17, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

It also warrants mentioning that Heinlein was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Starship Troopers is recommended reading in several branches of the American armed forces. It seems a bit too cute and trite that Heinlein would be recommended reading, but that Haldeman would be banned (in the Navy no less).
I'm not saying its not possible, but it really is too convenient. As if somebody is REALLY trying to stretch the claim that this novel was the definitive criticism of Starship Troopers. Remarkable claims require remarkable proof.
Kensuke Aida 02:31, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
UPDATE: After carefully considering the matter and doing the research, I decided to shit-can the entire section. First and foremost, the position cited was not NPOV. Secondly, it does not appear to be verifiable. And thirdly, the editor who added it appears to have a history of making soapbox (WP:NOT#SOAPBOX) arguments on the Wikipedia designed to support a particular political position or opinion. Cumulatively, the section had absolutely zero merit as Wikipedia content.
If anybody has any input on this, feel free to discuss it here.
Kensuke Aida 00:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

SFBC edition[edit]

The Science Fiction Book Club edition is based on the 1997 Avon edition, right? RahadyanS 17:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Inaccuracies[edit]

I have reverted/changed some "inaccuracies" that I don't remember from the book. The problem is that I may be mixing things up with the graphic novel, which in some parts diverges a little. Mainly I am referring to:

  • Homosexuality mandatory - this is incorrect FOR MANDELLA's FIRST VISIT BACK. At that time, he wasn't nearly gone long enough, and society hadn't changed that much yet.

MadMaxDog 09:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

I could be wrong, and I don't have a copy of the book with me, but I think there was only one trip back where homosexuality was the norm. There wasn't a return prior to that where it was say merely common. Also, I say mandatory, because I recall from the book that it is: everyone is conditioned to be homosexual. It's not "encouraged" -> it's done *to* you. Mandatory. Only those who cannot be conditioned remain hetrosexual. Toby Douglass 08:13, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I emigrated two years ago, and most of my book collection is still back in Europe. So I can't check either - can some soul do? I remember that the first return to Earth was soon after the first combat mission, and Mandella's mother was still alive (i.e. the historical duration was maybe 30-50 years onwards - a lot of time, but I'm not sure that would have been enough for such a sweeping change). MadMaxDog 09:22, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I haven't read the book in a while but I just read A Separate War and in it, Marygay states that hetereosexuality is tolerated as an "anachronistic perversion" and that the "cure" for heterosexuality only works before puberty. Not sure that this helps any. Kuralyov 01:01, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Not really, because what you say is certainly correct for LATER in the book's history. However, the book spans about a thousand years, with all the historical changes back on Earth. So unless somebody gets out the book and checks what is says during the FIRST return of the veterans to Earth... Ingolfson 07:49, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I just finished rereading the book. Then none of the times that Mandella returned was homosexuality mandatory. The first time it was merely encouraged (2023), and while the book does give an exact figure it's not as widespread as it is later in the book. The next time Mandella returnes to the "Stargate", homosexuality is close to or at 100%, but still not mandatory. It is explained that for a short time it was mandatory, but that law was repealed. In this future, heterosexuality is viewed as taboo or even more taboo that homosexuality is in the present.Lane5slacker 18:53, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I am reading what the forward calls a "nonabridged version" in which the temporal orientation officer Colonel whom Mandella is talking to in a bar (at Stargate after receiving his immersion training) tells him that heterosexuality was indeed illegal a century or so ago, but the laws had been relaxed since then. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.15.113.126 (talk) 19:20, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Infobox problem[edit]

Why has the infobox started to not wrap the text? MadMaxDog 09:33, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't anybody else have this problem? Massive whitespace right at the article start... MadMaxDog 09:23, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Autistic user?[edit]

As anybody can see from the last edit summaries (starting 17 May 2007), User:In1984 has repeatedly removed the spoilers template. When I reinstated it gving my reasons, he simply deletes it again, always without any edit summary, comment, whatsoever. He has also not responded to the following comment on his user talk:

"Stop reverting without explanation, please"
You repeatedly reverted the reinstation of the spoiler template on Forever War, even after I asked you to provide at least reasons and communicate about it. Please stop doing so - this is not your playground, this is a community effort. MadMaxDog 09:21, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Can somebody else weigh in, maybe also comment on his talk page that this is not the kind of behaviour Wikipedia is built on? No matter where you stand on the spoiler thing itself?MadMaxDog 08:30, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

First encounter with Taurans[edit]

The passage about the first land battle with the Taurans is inaccurate. It is never told whether the Taurans from the the future or the past, due to the time dilation. Also, the passage makes it sound like the humans were slaughtered when it was the other way around. At that point, the Taurans had no concept of land battles or even hand-held weapons. So, the battle was like shooting fish in a barrel. Lane5slacker 19:01, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

I think the criticism section needs a bit of work. For one thing, even if Haldeman had cordial relations with Heinlein, etc., his story may still be a response to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which Heinlein described as a heresy (ref. Grumbles from the Grave). A list of criticism discussing this should be included, rather than some anecdotes that really have nothing to do with literary criticism. Hmoulding (talk) 20:59, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, Haldeman has said several times that the book was not a response to Troopers. And I have read Grumbles several times and I never saw anything very negative about _Forever War_ The only times Heinlein called anything said about his work heresy were clearly intended as humerous. 65.79.173.135 (talk) 19:23, 12 July 2013 (UTC)Will in New Haven65.79.173.135 (talk) 19:23, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Bot comments[edit]

Took care of the following bot criticisms (struck afterwards). Ingolfson 09:00, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

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Plot Synopsis Inaccuracies[edit]

Regarding following quote: "This first expedition, beginning in 2007, lasted only two years from the soldier's perspective, but due to time dilation, upon return to Earth a decade has passed."

Confusing because by the time they actually get to Earth over 20 years have passed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Demiansmark (talkcontribs) 02:11, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

In the second paragraph it says the following: "later on a fictional planet called "Charon" which is presumably beyond Pluto's orbit." Even though the book was written before the discover of Pluto's moon Charon, this is what Wikipedia says about Charon: Charon is the largest satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto. It was discovered in 1978 at the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS). Following the 2005 discovery of two other natural satellites of Pluto (Nix and Hydra), and two more in 2011 and 2012 (Kerberos and Styx), Charon may also be referred to as (134340) Pluto I.[1] The New Horizons mission is scheduled to visit Charon and Pluto in July 2015. Even though there is no mention of 'The Forever War' in how Charon got its name (see Name under Charon (moon) Wikipedia entry) it would be nice to think that James Christy proposed the name after reading the book. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:E:9180:316:501C:91BA:71B9:389D (talk) 00:41, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

It would be nice, but until a reliable source is found it is just speculation. I am going to remove the link to Charon (moon) and add a note. TwoTwoHello (talk) 09:28, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Film[edit]

More information on the film is needed.

  • IMDB shows its under production and due 2013, but without access to ProIMDB I can't see more detailed information. Are they still working on the film?
  • Wiki's last info on the film is from 2010. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.252.171.254 (talk) 06:36, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Locus Award ambiguity[edit]

According to ISFDB, Forever War ranked 8th for the 1975 award --not mentioned in this article-- and won the 1976 award.

How did the Locus Award for Best Novel define eligibility? Does the answer to the puzzle turn on such points as hard- and softcover editions from two publishers? Does the ambiguity plague many annual Locus rankings (and perhaps Awards, ie 1st place)?

--P64 (talk) 01:08, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

P.S. Locus Index to SF Awards confirms this double showing for The Forever War, alone among Haldeman's works. I don't recall seeing other double showings there. --P64 (talk) 01:21, 4 April 2013 (UTC)